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Long Beach State vs. Arizona Expert Pick and Prediction – March 21, 2024

Long Beach State vs. Arizona Expert Pick and Prediction – March 21, 2024 

LONG BEACH STATE VS. ARIZONA EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 22, 2024 — Dan Monson and his team represent the most fun story in the tournament, as Monson was forced out effective at the end of the season. However, the Beach got rolling in the Big West tournament, bringing Monson back to the NCAA tournament for just the third time since his memorable run with Gonzaga in 1999.

But the odds are much longer of Monson getting out of the first round this time around, and it’s because of a familiar face. Once upon a time, Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd was a new college graduate looking to break into coaching and called Monson, who had encouraged him to do so when Lloyd was a junior college player. Lloyd ended up at Gonzaga and spent the next 21 years in Spokane before moving to the desert.

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However, Gonzaga-like success hasn’t followed Lloyd just yet. The Wildcats earned a top-two seed for the third straight year, but they’ve been early flameouts. In 2022, they made the Sweet 16 before Houston slowed them down. In 2023, it was much worse. The Wildcats became the first team to lose to a No. 15 seed twice, as Princeton gummed them up and bounced them.

And that’s been the knock on Arizona under Lloyd: Slow the Wildcats down, and they have no answers. Washington State proved that true twice this season. The Cougars, who finished a game behind Arizona in the Pac-12, bested the Wildcats both times by mucking up the offense. Oregon and USC used the same blueprint, holding Arizona under 70 and winning fairly comfortably.

That’s a problem for Monson and Long Beach, however. The Beach play at a quick tempo, sometimes to their detriment. Long Beach gave up 88 to Cal-Davis, 82 to Cal-Irvine, 84 to Cal State-Northridge, 88 to Cal-San Diego, 88 to San Diego State and 92 to Louisiana. They did beat power conference schools DePaul and Michigan, but those teams were as bad as it got this season. If you’re looking for another big upset, this likely isn’t the place to find it.

The Odds 






Long Beach State

(21-14 SU, 16-17 ATS) 






(25-8 SU, 21-11-1 ATS) 






When: Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. EST 

Where: Delta Center, Salt Lake City


Public Bets: Unavailable 

Public Money: Unavailable

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 20th, 2024

Long Beach State vs. Arizona In-Season Trends 

For all of Arizona’s speed, the Wildcats really haven’t been a good over bet lately. Six of their past eight games have actually stayed under the total, in large part because Pac-12 foes learned how to play Arizona the second time around.

They didn’t do enough to win outside of Washington State, but they did do enough to trip up the totals. The Wildcats also did their part on defense, holding everyone but Oregon to under 80 points in each of their past 10 games.

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Long Beach has run hot and cold, which is why Monson isn’t coming back next season. The Beach lost their final five regular season games of the year and were favored in three of them. They rediscovered their form at the Big West tournament, but this team is prone to spells. When things go well, they’re a tough out. When they don’t, they can spiral fast.

The Difference-Makers 

If Caleb Love’s shot is on, Long Beach has no chance. Love takes too many 3-point shots (Pelle Larsson is the better deep shooter), and the Beach won’t keep him off the line. Long Beach ranks 300th nationally at defending the 3-ball, which is probably a death sentence against the second-best deep shooting team in the Pac-12.

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If the Beach is to have a chance, it must force some turnovers. That means Jadon Jones and Marcus Tsohonis pressuring the Wildcats and getting some steals. Problem is, Arizona is used to playing fast and is a lot better at it.

The Pick 

Monson is a great story. Monson and Lloyd together make for an even better story. But that’s all we’ve got here. Arizona has gone out two years running to slow-paced squads. The Wildcats don’t like to take a breather. You beat them by mucking them up and forcing them to figure it out.

You do not beat them by outrunning them. Long Beach State will oblige the Wildcats, and it will be to the Beach’s detriment. Arizona exorcises some demons and Lloyd sends his mentor off to his next job.

Dan’s Picks 

 Arizona -20.5  

 Over 163.5 



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